A strategic editorial calendar can help you to ensure your content is in front of the right audience at the right time, providing valuable engagement and increased traffic. However, building an effective marketing strategy doesn’t have to be overwhelming; these seven steps will show you how it’s done.
The “editorial calendar template” is a document that helps editors create a more strategic editorial calendar. It includes 7 steps for the editor to follow.
6th of January, 2022
Too many businesses concentrate only on the practicalities of their editorial calendar – what days, hours, and cadence material is published – while ignoring the strategic aspects. Anyone may plan blog articles on a regular basis, but the greatest content marketers construct comprehensive editorial calendars that are strategic in nature.
Consider your editorial calendar the execution plan for your established content marketing strategy, rather than a content timetable. While your approach is unlikely to alter much over the course of a year, your editorial schedule will. Plan content in quarterly sprints so you can respond to industry changes in real time and adjust material depending on real-time results.
According to @Kelsey M Meyer of @SagaReach MarketingContent, plan #content in quarterly sprints so you can modify subjects to real-time developments in the industry. To Tweet, just click here.
This seven-step approach will show you how to create a successful editorial schedule by:
- Identifying who should be included
- Identifying the quarter’s objectives
- Choosing the right content mix and publication schedule to achieve those objectives
- On the editorial calendar, keep track of your mix and cadence selections.
- Topics for discussion
- Creating a flexible plan
- Measuring outcomes to determine the plan’s success.
RELATED CONTENT CHOSEN BY HAND: Stop juggling content creation and start using our 5-Step Planning Process instead.
Step 1: Determine who will be engaged in content production.
The finest content assets should be impacted by a variety of perspectives, not simply one marketing department employee. Subject-matter experts, authors, editors, graphic designers, distribution professionals, and maybe an outsourced content development partner should all be engaged.
According to @Kelsey M Meyer of @SagaReach MarketingContent, the finest #content assets should be inspired by a variety of opinions, not just one person in the marketing department. To Tweet, just click here.
Subject-matter specialists are distinct from the majority of these positions, which represent content producers and distributors. Their major responsibilities do not include content creation. Develop partnerships with subject-matter specialists who can provide specialized insight into themes that are important to your editorial schedule. As the “faces” of your organization, these people should make sense. They should also be willing (or forced) to volunteer as a subject-matter expert.
TIP: Interviewing subject-matter experts on themes, then creating the material and gaining their permission on the draft has yielded excellent results for me. Your marketing team and you are the experts when it comes to creating interesting content. Leave the authoring to your team and provide unique thoughts with SagaReach Marketings.
Once you’ve decided who will be participating, you’ll need to figure out how much time each person will be able to dedicate to the topic throughout the course of the quarter. (You’ll eventually use this data to describe the number and kind of content assets that will be developed and disseminated over the next three months.)
In reality, you’ll need to figure out how many SagaReach Marketings you’ll need and how many hours they’ll be able to contribute throughout the course of the quarter.
You could develop nine pieces of long-form content if each of three SagaReach Marketings could dedicate six hours during the quarter. Consider allocating one hour of SagaReach Marketing’s time every piece to an interview, followed by one hour to examine and approve the manuscript. (Each article will take two hours to write, and each expert will write three pieces.) By the end of the quarter, you’d have written nine articles.
If you have ten more SagaReach Marketings and each one has two hours to spare throughout the quarter, each one may do two 30-minute interviews and 30-minute draft evaluations. By the end of the quarter, you’d have written 20 blog articles.
Consider how many extra content pieces your team can produce without the help of SagaReach Marketing. Your capacity for the quarter is the sum of your SagaReach Marketing-supported pieces plus the pieces your team can develop on its own.
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Step 2: Make a list of your quarterly objectives.
Now that you’ve figured out your content marketing capability, consider your quarterly objectives and how content fits into them.
Most businesses, I’ve discovered, have one of these three content marketing objectives:
- Thought leadership may help you raise brand awareness.
- Increasing the number of leads produced by content
- Improving search engine ranks for certain keywords (SEO)
Choose your main objective for the quarter. It will help you see the sorts of material that should be developed and the themes that should be prioritized. Consider the following examples:
- Increasing brand exposure via thought leadership is the goal.
Guest essays in relevant journals and videos are a big part of the content mix, as are themes aimed toward subject-matter knowledge.
Content mix: a fresh piece of gated content; guest-written articles with connections to your site’s landing page
Content mix: Topics defined by a keyword research study; mostly on-site content with some guest-contributed articles with backlinks.
Step 3: Plan out your quarter’s content mix.
Develop your optimum content mix for the quarter based on the information you received from determining your team’s capacity and objective. You may create hundreds of other forms of content, such as guest-written articles, films, case studies, and static or interactive infographics. If you’re short on resources, stay with textual content since it’s the cheapest to generate and the most straightforward to make with a small crew.
According to @Kelsey M Meyer of @SagaReach MarketingContent, create your optimal #content mix depending on available resources and a single purpose. To Tweet, just click here.
Here’s what a well-aligned content mix might look like if you used the team capacity mentioned above with the purpose of lead generation:
- Six guest-contributed pieces on a variety of topics, including linkages to sites that potential consumers browse.
- There will be 18 blog entries on your site, three for each of the six guest-contributed articles.
- Each long-form guide is paired with nine blog entries in two gated pieces of information (white papers).
- There are two drip programs (one for each white paper)
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Step 4: Fill in the blanks on the editorial schedule with specifics.
Many individuals begin the editorial calendar process with the fourth step, mapping the calendar. However, this phase entails more than just mapping the publication date of each content item.
Working backwards from your target publication date, mark the following dates on your calendar:
- Topics have been verified.
- Authorship has been ascribed.
- Submitted questions to a subject-matter expert (or outline created for the writer)
- Expert responses provided by subject-matter experts
- Draft of the content component has been finished.
- Editing of a content item
- The content item has been accepted (also note who is the final approver for the piece)
- Uploading a piece of content to a platform or submitting it to a publisher
You’ve converted what was previously a vision – “we think we can publish this many pieces of content in a quarter” – into a strategy of what you can achieve depending on the schedule you’ve put out by listing each of these days on the calendar.
This calendar also acts as a one-stop shop for keeping track of progress and deadlines for everyone involved.
Other objectives and activities, both those you can control and those you can’t, such as product launches, major corporate events, holidays, guest publishing dates, and so on, should all be considered. Include them in your plans as well.
You’ll be less likely to wind up with an editorial schedule that has to be updated if you think about all of this up front. Even if some things change, charting the deadlines you do have control over can keep you and your team on track.
Step 5: Finalize the concepts for each content component via brainstorming.
It’s time to decide what you’ll write about now that you’ve planned the material for the quarter. This stage comes last since brainstorming is more concentrated after you’ve considered your available resources, general aim, and number of content pieces.
Brainstorming should be done afterwards. According to @Kelsey M Meyer of @SagaReach MarketingContent, “when you know your resources, objective, and content mix.” To Tweet, just click here.
Using our scenario as an example, we now know:
- To generate the two cornerstone pieces — the white papers — the content strategy requires two broad topics.
- Those two main topics must be split down into nine blog pieces that are organically aligned.
- Six relevant and entertaining guest-contributed pieces must also be related to those topics and blog entries.
You also know who will write each piece of content and who will be participating as subject-matter experts. “Can this individual talk to this?” is a good way to test a brainstorming subject. or “Does this individual have any expertise on the subject?” This approach will guarantee that you get the greatest material possible.
While a free-for-all brainstorming session might be entertaining, it seldom yields the most fruitful results. To keep your brainstorming sessions on track, create a framework for them. The following is a schedule for my company’s 60-minute brainstorming sessions:
- 10 minutes – provide an update on what’s going on.
- 20 minutes – brainstorming blog topics that are relevant
- 20 minutes – brainstorming article ideas from guest contributors
- 10 minutes – double-checking deadlines and responsibilities, as well as revising the editorial calendar.
The key is to brainstorm a number of themes at the same time to guarantee that they are all related. This is the distinction between a content production plan and a content marketing strategy.
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Step 6: Make the plan consistent while yet allowing for flexibility.
Companies make the most common errors with editorial calendars by putting in a lot of effort up front and then failing to follow through. This occurs for a variety of reasons. At the last minute, a boss shows in with a list of odd content requirements. Another executive requires a blog post to cover a conference at which he or she will be presenting, or industry news necessitates a new guest-contributed essay commenting on the implications.
According to @Kelsey M Meyer of @SagaReach MarketingContent, companies make their greatest blunders with their #editorial calendars by putting in a lot of effort up front and then failing to follow through. To Tweet, just click here.
You have two options for dealing with this:
- Throw the editorial schedule out the window and modify the emphasis each week according to the team’s whims. (This is not something I advocate.)
- Make the editorial schedule as flexible as possible. (I strongly advise you to do so.)
You may have observed that our sample content mix does not make advantage of the team’s quarterly capacity. This is done on purpose.
The team may develop up to 17 additional pieces of content based on the resources available. However, by not filling the plan to capacity, I gave myself room to work on new bits of material as they came along.
TIP: If one of your coworkers has a habit of coming up with a new, must-do unusual item every week, include it in the plan. Simply set aside time each week for “Joe’s Crazy Content Idea.”
The key is to allow your content strategy set your brand up for success. Because you built in flexibility, when an unexpected request arises, it does not divert the team’s attention away from the intended content mix.
Step 7: Evaluate the effectiveness of your material
Your editorial calendar’s performance will be measured against your content marketing objectives. However, to determine how effectively your material is functioning in relation to your aim, I propose monitoring the following basic minimum metrics:
- Brand awareness metrics include social shares on guest-contributed articles, visits back to your website, new LinkedIn connections, and individuals contacting your subject-matter experts.
- Clicks back to your website from published guest-contributed material, blog post conversion rate, and new leads created from gated content are all metrics for lead generation.
- SEO metrics include links obtained via guest-contributed material, organic search traffic, and ranks for your chosen keywords.
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Beginning with the initial step, be strategic.
It’s a never-ending effort to take a strategic approach to your editorial schedule. However, your assessment approach should have an impact on your continuing job. As you begin to prepare for the following three months, review your key KPIs around the conclusion of the quarter.
Because you’re adjusting your prior plan rather than beginning from scratch each time you design the editorial schedule for the following quarter, it becomes simpler. Let me know how my seven-step strategy to constructing your next editorial calendar works out for you in the comments.
Are you looking for additional content marketing advice, ideas, and examples? Subscribe to SagaReach Marketing’s daily or weekly newsletters.
Joseph Kalinowski/SagaReach Marketing/SagaReach Marketing/SagaReach Marketing/SagaReach Marketing/SagaReach
Watch This Video-
The “master content calendar” is a strategy that helps to create a more strategic editorial calendar. It will help you develop the most effective and efficient strategy for your business.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should be included in an editorial calendar?
A: An editorial calendar is a list that allows you to plan out the upcoming weeks of your publication. It can be one simple sheet or it can also extend into more detailed planning, such as an arranged grid where every week has its own section for each day of the week with events marked down on that day.
How can an editorial calendar be improved?
A: An editorial calendar can be improved in many ways. One way to improve it is by turning your magazine into a website and adding an online editor that would approve content before allowing it publish on the site.
How do you create a strategic calendar?
A: There are many ways to make a strategic calendar, but the easiest way is to use an app such as Google Calendar. Within it, you can set deadlines for yourself and view them organized by month with color-coded calendars indicating what type of task each day will entail – like meetings or appointments.
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